In a country that is almost completely dominated by men, it is quite wonderful to see women taking the initiative to drive. This is a huge step towards modernization as in Afghanistan it is believed that women shouldn’t be empowered and should stay at home and look after the domestic chores. However in a country with many widows and women living without their partners, it makes a lot of sense for them to drive their own vehicles. This not only saves them the trouble of traveling by the often unreliable public transport system, it also gives them and their children a sense of security.
Though liberating, it hasn’t been easy for the women to break free and obtain their driving licenses. Family disapproval and other social taboos have made their journey difficult, but still today there are 80 registered female drivers in Herat, a number that is quite commendable. Most people in Afghanistan obtain their papers illegally but these women drivers are completely qualified to drive their vehicles.
With the opening of an all-women driving institute, it is easier for the aspiring drivers to get their licenses. The over-populated classes of the traffic department, where women are forced to learn driving along with men, cause them difficulties. But now with the new institute, the process has become a lot easier for the women.
The streets may not yet be bustling with women drivers, but this is a step taken in the right direction and hopefully more and more women will benefit from this initiative soon.
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